A Playboy bunny is a young woman in a deliberately sexually titillating costume, which was originally devised by Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy magazine and Victor Lownes in 1966, to be worn by waitresses in their Playboy clubs. The name is said to come from the idea that the waitress provided an evening's chase. The name is similar in connotation to "kitty" or "cat", a way of indicating female sexuality.
The torso has a tight strapless, sleeveless leotard (often black), cut very low in front to show the cleavage, which is enhanced by an uplift bra. Originally, the costume was severely boned to act like a corset. There is a fluffy white ball on the bottom, which is meant to represent a rabbit's tail, and the woman should also wear fake rabbit's ears (though the ears are often omitted). The costume is completed by white cloth cuffs at the wrists, and a cloth collar with a small black bow tie (imitating details of men's formal attire), tights (usually fishnet or possibly seamed) and shiny stiletto-heeled shoes.
If a bunny-costumed woman bends over, the "tail" calls attention to her bottom.
The waitresses were originally required to keep the tail fluffy, meaning that they could not sit down all evening despite having to wear high-heeled shoes, and to keep smiling. Anyone who broke the rule had to stand in a corner.
- "Bunny girl" in Ayto, J. & Crofton, I., Brewer's Dictionary of Modern Phrase and Fable (2006), ISBN 978 0 304 36809 9